A British man facing a three-year jail sentence in Dubai for putting his hand on a man in a bar so he did not “bump and spill drinks” has been sentenced to a month in prison on a separate charge.
Jamie Harron, 27, has been convicted of “public indecency” as he awaits the verdict on the other charge against him, according to reports.
A spokesman for the prosecution service in Dubai said: “On the drinking charge, he has been sentenced to a month in jail, fined 2,000 dirhams (£412) and will be deported.
“His next appearance on the public indecency case is on October 22.”
The electrician, from Scotland, had been told to remain in the city for future court hearings.
The UK Foreign Office’s advice for drinking in Dubai states:
Non-Muslim residents can get a liquor licence to drink alcohol at home and in licensed venues. These licences are valid only in the Emirate that issued the licence. Residents must also get a permit to be able to drink in licensed venues.
Alcoholic drinks are served in licensed hotels and clubs, but it is a punishable offence to drink, or to be under the influence of alcohol, in public. The legal age for drinking alcohol is 18 in Abu Dhabi (although a Ministry of Tourism by-law allows hotels to serve alcohol only to those over 21), and 21 in Dubai and the Northern Emirates (except Sharjah, where drinking alcohol is illegal).
Passengers in transit through the UAE under the influence of alcohol may also be arrested.
Harron was arrested for alleged public indecency and drinking alcohol at the Rock Bottom Bar on July 15.
Harron is said to have been moving through the crowded bar holding a drink, with his hand in front of him to avoid spillage, when he “touched a man on his hip to avoid impact”.
Detained in Dubai said Harron was then locked up for five days in Al Barsha prison, before being released on bail with his passport confiscated.
Harron, from Stirling, had been working in Afghanistan and was on a two-day stopover in Dubai when the incident happened.
He is said to have since lost his job and has spent more than £30,000 in expenses and legal fees.
Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained in Dubai, said: “Jamie is relieved he wasn’t arrested [at the latest hearing]. It was expected that he would have to spend some time in prison.”
She said a further court date was expected in about two weeks, although no firm date has yet been set and Harron expects the court process to be “drawn out”.
“He’s concerned. He’s already been there three months. It seems to be never-ending for him and he’s frustrated,” Stirling added.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was providing consular assistance on the matter.